The third partner meeting took place in Thurso, Scotland March 21 till 24 and marked midterm of the project. The focus of the meeting was to discuss what has been done so far, what is next and also to get a better insight in the local partners' challenges. The project meetings are a great opportunity for local partners to get together and hear about the current situation in the other municipalities, share knowledge and hear about challenges as well as to hear about the progress from the researchers working on different tools and models.
Another important part of the partner meetings are the open seminars where local stakeholders get an opportunity to present local challenges and issues to create a wider understanding of the area. The open seminars have been appreciated so far as they also create an arena for discussion as well as to widen the network around the project.
The last few months have been more practical for some of the local partners with stakeholder workshops in their municipalities. The workshops are an opportunity to create engagement in the local municipalities as well as an opportunity to spread knowledge about the project.
The Demographic Foresight Model, Social Impact Management Plan and the Local Benefit Analysis Toolbox are all in the developing process and were presented accordingly. The different research themes are being developed together with the local partners ensuring that they are relevant.
The meeting also provided the opportunity to visit several interesting locations, including the Dounreay power plant complex which has been the major employer in the Thurso area since the 50's. With decommissioning set to be complete by around 2030 there are plans for the workforce to transition into the nascent marine energy sector developing in the area. This issue was discussed during the open seminar held at the ERI where local actors shared experiences and area specific challenges. The project partners also paid a visit to the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) on Orkney, a centre that, together with the Environmental Research Centre in Thurso, provides opportunities within the renewable energy sector in the area.